The social media beauty cult | DW Documentary

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Social media are influencing the way women feel about their own bodies. Young women in particular are constantly being confronted with pictures of beautiful female bodies online – images which have almost always been digitally enhanced.

This documentary take a long and alarming look at young women whose everyday lives are dictated by the search for bodily perfection. The more users click their way through Instagram, Facebook and so on, the greater their dissatisfaction with their own appearance becomes. Hardly anyone can escape the pull of this illusory world, where beauty, fitness and lifestyle count for everything. The consequences an even be fatal: slimming and fitness crazes, eating disorders of all kinds, body shaming and sexism. During her research, filmmaker Jennifer Rezny came across a Canadian study that found that young women’s insecurity has been increased by social media. It feels like almost everyone is trying to present themselves on Instagram in slick filter-processed selfies these days. Despite increasing calls for diversity, the “ideal” female body still dominates the media’s perception of female beauty. Numerous movements and initiatives – even on the part of the fashion and advertising industries themselves – have had little effect. “The female body has always been a carrier of female identity. It’s nothing new for us women to be objectified and sexualised,” says Rezny. “There has also been a great deal of social development, but we are still not where we should be and where we women want to be, in an equal society. And in any case, we live in a meritocratic society, one defined and colored by capitalism, which always has to be optimized and improved. It can never be enough.”

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